Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Favorite Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers

Are you ready for winter weather?  It is the beginning of "monsoon season" here in Oregon, and our days are getting wet and cloudy.  Check out this truly frightening graph I found of precipitation for the nearest town to us:

Photo credit: city-data.com

Notice how right now, mid-October, has average precipitation, but it's about to skyrocket?  Coming from a state with 300 sunny days a year, I am a little nervous about the upcoming months.  

We try to play outside at least a little everyday that it's possible.  But no matter where you live (okay, maybe not Southern California), there are bound to be days that are so rainy, so freezing, or so blizzardy that it just doesn't seem wise to take the kids outside to play (or maybe too hot, I guess!).

These are a few of our favorite things to do on bad-weather days, and keeping them in mind is helping me stay positive about wet weather in our future!  My kids are 3 and almost 2, by the way, if you're wondering why "model airplane building" or "reading novels" is not on the list...
  • Cooking something special - I don't know about you, but cold, rainy days always make me want to head to the kitchen and make something cozy and delicious.  Good think toddlers love helping in the kitchen!  Maybe the bad weather can be your excuse to spend some time working on that recipe you've been wanting to try, or help you slow down enough to make something special for the kids.  I recently enjoyed a post at Nourished and Nurtured about getting kids involved in the kitchen (for "one-stop shopping," check out Sarah's recipes while you're checking out the post - they are all GAPs-friendly and amazingly guilt-free!)
  • Nature/Cooking Videos  - Okay, don't misunderstand, I'm not saying rainy days are a perfect opportunity to plunk the kids down in front of the TV.  But.  If you're going to do it anyway, considering branching out from watching that Dora video for the 97th time, and check out some nature or cooking shows.  When my kids are sick and don't want to do anything but lay on my lap, but we've gone through all the favorite books, they're bored, tired, and fussing, and I'm about at my wit's end, there's nothing like a good episode of Planet Earth to get their attention.  (We just have to be careful about the ones that involve hunting, now that Einstein is old enough to know the wolf is not "playing tag" with the baby caribou...)
  • Rainy Day Box - We all know rainy/cold/snowy days are coming, so why not be a little bit prepared?  This concept is kind of like having a special box of toys that are just for traveling in the car...but for at home!  We have a box of toys, craft supplies, and games that only comes out when the weather is bad or somebody is sick.  It includes toys like the annoying battery-operated puppy we got for Christmas that I don't want out all the time, but that is a life-saver on a grumpy day, the extra-messy crafts that I can't leave the kids to do on their own very often, but that I'd love to sit down and supervise every once in a while, and other "special" items like that.  It is a huge relief when we're having "one of those days" to be able to go to the "special stuff" box and find an item that is novel to the kids.
  • Living Room Obstacle Course - This might be my favorite!  When it's nasty outside, and everybody is getting wiggly inside, we devise obstacle courses through the house.  They might be something like, crawl across the couch, jump onto the rug, hop 5 times over to the dining room, crawl under the kitchen table, sprint back into the living room, jump up on the couch, and do it all again!  Be forewarned, this activity requires you to get up and get moving as you demonstrate the moves for the kids and go through it with them, but that's a good thing, right?  If you are opposed to kids jumping/crawling all over the furniture, maybe you could put some cushions on the floor instead, or move the obstacle course to another part of the house.  You'll be surprised how quickly this activity will have you and the kids breathing hard, and ready to sit down and do something quiet!  :)
Do you have frequent bad-weather days that keep you stuck in the house?  What are your favorite bad-weather activities to do inside?  Please let me know - I'm gonna need all the ideas I can get for the next few months!

Posted at WFMW


  1. Lots of good ideas. I read the same post, too, about cooking with kids. Right now, it's raining, and my 3 year old (only one at home this year) is playing with the games from our game cabinet. His favorite is Blokus.

  2. Kelly, thanks!

    Barb, how funny, my 3 year old is just itching to get his hands on our Blokus set too, but I'm afraid his little sister will run off with the pieces! :)

  3. When they are older... self-supporting, two man tents or blankets over tables or chairs to make one. I remember my girls spending hours in a tent in the basement. Or the unscripted stuffed animal/barbie/"puppet" show from behind the sofa. That was a great time for Ma & Pa to relax while "watching" it. One of my favorites as a kid (older than toddler) was the building block set which provided hours of creative construction.


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